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Our Inheritance, Our Future: Their Rights?

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Chapter Summary

The recent U.K. Government White Paper, Our Inheritance, Our Future (2003), is interestingly sub-titled 'Realising the potential of genetics in the NHS'. Developing the potential of genetics and genetic services is the 'vision' encapsulated in this document: 'that the NHS should lead the world in taking maximum advantage of the application of the new genetic knowledge for the benefit of all patients'. The ethical repercussions of genetic screening and testing are such that generalisations are seldom helpful and it becomes essential to consider individually the influence that each inquiry that is recommended within the Government's programme exerts on children's rights. The Paper commits the Government to ensuring that all women are offered ante-natal screening for Down's Syndrome. Given that a high proportion of pregnancies in the UK are already screened for this condition, it is unlikely that this recommendation will generate much controversy.

Keywords: ante-natal genetic screening; children's rights; genetic testing; U.K. Government White Paper



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